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Normal Speech and language milestones in kids


First 3 years are crucial for speech & language development. Young children start learning new words, using them and playing with the speech sounds. As it is learning phase for the child, he/she needs an environment which is full of auditory and visual stimulus.

It is called critical period for language learning. If critical period is passed without exposure to speech and language. It is difficult to learn for the young child.


Children may vary in development of speech and language. There are speech and language milestones which they follow according to their age.



1 year old

· Babbling strings of sounds, (babababa, lalalala).

· Responding to simple words and phrases (No, sit down) and waving bye bye

· Playing games like peek-a-boo.

· Saying 1 or 2 words, like mama, baba.


2 years old

· Pointing to a few body parts when asked.

· Following 1-part sentences, (come here, give it to papa) Using a lot of new words.

· Putting 2 words together, (mamma come, let’s go,

· Have vocabulary of 150-300 words.


3 years old

· Following 2-part sentences, (get your teddy bear and put it on the bed).

· Understanding and using new words quickly.

· Putting 3 words together to talk about things.

· Have vocabulary of 900- 1000 words.

· Asking short questions.


4 years old

· Responding to name call when called from another room.

· Understanding few colors, few shapes and Family members.

· Using pronouns, plurals.

· Using 4-word sentences. Talks about what happened during the day.

· Have vocabulary of about 2000 words.


5 years old

· Following 3-part sentences

· Saying all speech sounds in words. May make few mistakes. (V, Z, Ch, Sh, R)

· Naming numbers and letters.

· Creating longer sentences and telling a short story.

· Talking in different ways, according to person and situation.


These are the basic speech and language developmental milestones. If there is a delay among these a parent should consult a speech and language pathologist (SLP). SLPs asses the child using standardized tests. Based on the tests they might recommend speech therapy (and Other interventions if needed).


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